Basil, basil how do I love thee?

Not Basil Brush, although he does make me smile too!

No I’m enamoured of basil, the delightful herb (or Erb if one is American :p).

My plant is healthy and glowing on the windowsill and everyday I rip its little leaves off with sadistic glee. Basil doesn’t begrudge me though, he just grows a little harder, grows a faster to try and earn my love. Little does he know our love is destructive and I won’t stop pulling him apart until he is nothing more than a droopy, browned stem and a husk of his former self. Then, with little regard for our previous passion I shall throw him dispassionately in the bin and stalk the aisles for a new love and the cycle of pain and pleasure will begin once more.

Ahem. I may have been reading romance novels as well. At any rate basil makes Og happy and when Og is happy, everyone is happy. So tell me other ways I can use this wonderous, masochistic plant?

Just this morning I augmented my Breakfast of Champions omlette recipe with 8 finely chopped basil leaves and it added that extra kick that made me think I should change the name. Henceforth it shall be the Breakfast of Superheroes. It’s a dairy laden, artery clogging kickstart to your day but since I rarely, if ever eat breakfast (very bad I know) when I do have a craving hit, I like to indulge in a big way.

**Breakfast of Superheroes Omlette ** ™ — endorsed by superheroes everywhere

  • 2 eggs lightly whisked with a tablespoon of light/whipping cream.

  • Add 8 basil leaves, chopped, and season with S+P to taste.

  • In a little olive oil, fry one small red onion, chopped and 6-8 button mushrooms, chopped roughly, until the onion is soft and translucent.
    Take off the heat and set onion/shroom mixture to one side.

-Pour egg mixture into the pan, and drop small slivers of chedder (or if you’re trashy like me one of those single serving slices of kraft cheese that come in plastic wrap and taste like orange plastic, ripped up) into the miture.
Add two thin slices of goats cheese to one side.

  • Pour onion/shroom mixture onto the opposite side to the goats cheese and let cook until cheese is melty and the egg is nearly to you liking

  • Flip goats cheese half over

  • Swear loudly when you cackhandedly fail

  • Decide not to care because it still tastes awesome, serve on a pretty plate and scoff

  • Feel sated, happy and ready to face the world

How else can basil be put to good use??

Fresh basil = Yummy pizza topping

Boil up about two ounces of spaghetti noodles (about 60g, if you’re from that side of the Pond). When it is nice and soft, drain the water off, add 2Tbsp (30cc) of butter, freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste, and 4-6 shredded basil leaves (depending on the size of the leaves).

A sprig of basil also works nicely in a bowl of ramen, however you decide to tart it up.

Awesome, like a homemade pesto without all the grinding.

Homegrown basil and tomatoes are the essence of summer.
Add some fresh mozzarella (bufala if you can get it) good olive oil, fresh-ground salt and pepper and you’ll end up in the orgasmatron.

Basil Brush! Now there’s a reference Americans will not get. You may as well have mentioned The Goodies or Rolf Harris.

Oh, we know Rolf Harris, if only for “Tie Me Kangaroo Down”.

My favorite use of basil is in the Thai dish gai pad krapow (Thai Holy Basil Chicken). Technically, it should be made with Thai Holy Basil, but I use sweet basil when Holy basil is not available and it’s fine, although the taste is slightly different.

1 lb ground chicken (or pork, turkey, etc.)
2-3 shallots, finely minced (or 1/2 of a red onion)
4-6 garlic cloves, finely minced
Minced Thai chiles or serranos (as many as you can handle)
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1 cup basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper

Fry shallots, garlic, and chiles in about two tablespoons of oil for about a minute over high heat(this works best in a wok). Throw in ground chicken. Brown. When chicken looks cooked through, add fish sauce and basil leaves. Cook until basil wilts down, add a little black pepper, and serve over jasmine rice. You can also serve this with a fried egg on top. Some people mix a little mint into the sweet basil as a rough substitute for Holy basil. You can also put in two tablespoons of palm sugar (or a little bit less regular sugar) in with the fish sauce.

“Mr. Fawlty, I love you, I love you! You so kind, you so good to me! I love you, I love you!”

Pulykamell that recipe sounds fantastic, just the sort of thing I’m after. Thanks :cool:

It’s one of my favorite dishes in the world. Some variations: You can use diced chicken instead of ground; you can throw in some vegetables (bell peppers, green beans, squash); you can add a kaffir lime leaf or two; you can use a mixture of fish, oyster, and soy sauces; you can use some finely chopped cilantro/coriander root with the shallots and garlic. It’s also wonderful made with shrimp or scallops instead of chicken.

I used to watch The Goodies, on late-night tv, back in the late seventies (coulda been the public TV channel). My favorite episode was when they all got to marry Prince Charles after saving England from an infestation of Rolf Harrises.

That poor little lame Rolf Harris who couldn’t get into the magical mountain. My heart went out to him. And, because I was laughing so hard, so did my lungs, left kidney, and spleen.

Basil Brush? Never heard of him.

Getting back to the herb, Polyperchon, a window box won’t be enough. You’re going to need a hedgerow.

Everything is better with basil.

I put it (and a little garlic and salt) in my boxed macaroni and cheese. Makes it edible!


Someone already got to the basil + tomato + mozz cheese bit. I would also add a lashing of balsamic vinegar and some sea salt to that.

Finely chop basil and sprinkle into olive oil with some salt and pepper. Or use dried if it’s not available.

Use crusty bread slices as a transport to get that mix into your mouth. (think french bread, artisan bread, that sort of thing)

NOM NOM. I eat that when I’m cooking dinner so my stomach doesn’t think my throat’s been cut.

I’m sorry, Polyperchon, but you and I are now arch nemesises. You’ve already chosen your weapon - basil. Now I must chose mine. What gives you hives, anything? If so, that’s what I’m honor-bound to pick.

Really, though, you people like the taste? I never noticed a discernable taste. Just the resulting hives.

Basil has a very pronounced taste. Perhaps your allergy is keeping you from properly tasting it, but if you smell it, you can get an idea of its flavor. We are talking fresh basil, of course, not that dried crap which is only slightly more flavorful than paper.

This is a pasta sauce recipe that is deceptively simple, wonderfully delicious, and combines ingredients that are slam dunk naturals:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
7 oz of pancetta or rindless bacon, cut into short julienne strips
2 lb ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
freshly ground pepper
3 oz grated pecorino cheese

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and pancetta and brown for about ten minutes or so. Add the tomatoes and a llittle salt and simmer, covered, over very low heat for one hour. Just before removing the sauce from the heat, add the whole basil leaves and a good pinch of pepper. Serve over pasta of choice and sprinkle with cheese. Heaven, I tells ya.

Don’t be tempted to add the basil early on, as it loses its identity quickly. Ditto for the pepper. You want these flavors to pop.

Oh, and people who use dried basil for anything other than attic insulation should not be allowed to reproduce. But that’s just me.

Sweet elfkin477! I’ve never had an arch nemisis before. I’m going to totally pwn you though, I am 100% allergy free. So unless you somehow find out about my arachnaphobia… Dammit!

And pulykamell is right (maybe we should start a basil love and awareness group?) that the strong scent of basil is very much an indication of its taste - for those of us not breaking out in hives. Its another reason to love my poor, masochist plant. It makes my entire apartment smell wonderful. Even more so when I’m slicing up his little leaves. He bleeds the most heavenly aroma!

Lizardling, you are an inspired genius. I think my lunch today with be basil on bread. Henceforth, I shall think of you and basil and sing your praises whenever I see a gecko in the house.

Oh my stars and garters Chefguy! That looks delish.

Who are these people using dried basil? What heresy have they been brainwashed by? IS THERE NO OG?

I wanted to second Chefguy’s suggestion. I also think that when it comes to pasta sauces using fresh basil, simple is often better. You can even skip out on the pancetta and it’s still delicious. One point, though, is if you can’t get tasty ripe tomatoes (and this time of the year, I can’t), use a high-quality canned tomato (Muir Glen is one good brand; San Marzano is another). I always use canned tomatoes unless I can get tomatoes from my garden or find some good ones at a farmer’s market. Most of the tomatoes they sell at supermarkets only have the vaguest resemblance in taste to a real tomato.

I’ve also found that basil marries quite well with cream sauces, too. I used to make a basil cream sauce that basically consisted of garlic or onions fried in butter, heavy cream, and parmigianno-reggiano (basically, an alfredo-type sauce, except I go much lighter on the butter than a true alfredo, plus I have that garlic/onion in it), with a little dash of nutmeg, cooked down until thick (coating the back of a spoon). At the very end, I add some chiffonaded basil. It just occurred to me that throwing in some pine nuts or possibly even walnuts would be tasty, as well.

If you want to have some more fun with basil mixed with other herbs, and try something completely different, you should try googling chicken chakhokhbili. There’s one recipe here. I usually use equal parts basil, mint, coriander, and summer savory or dill when making this for myself. It’s a very interesting and lovely combination of herbs, and not a flavor profile I recall encountering in any other cuisine. Of course, you’ll need other herbs in addition to the basil, but perhaps your windowsill has some room?